Veteran journalist Carl Hoffman believes he’s solved one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. In 1961 at the age of 23, Michael Rockefeller – son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a member of one of the richest and most powerful families in America ¬– travelled to remote New Guinea in search of primitive art for his father’s new museum.
Urban Meyer Introduced As New OSU Football Coach
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It did not come as much of a surprise to many college football fans when Ohio State finally put speculation to rest and announced Urban Meyer will head up Buckeye football next season. Meyer, who has signed a six year contract with OSU, was introduced as the head coach at a news conference Monday night.
“Well a year ago in my mind I was convinced I was done coaching.”
Urban Meyer called his 20-year coaching career quits last year and took a job as an ESPN analyst.
“I didn’t realize I’d miss it so bad,” he said.
Ohio State will pay Meyer $4 million dollars a year for the next six years. That does not include retention payments totaling $2.4 million if he stays the duration of the contract. It also does not account for six-figure bonuses. Meyer also will receive $250,000 for a national championship game appearance, $150,000 for a Bowl Championship Series bowl game appearance, and $100,000 if he wins the Big Ten Championship game. If he wins the Big Ten Championship game an additional year will be added to his contract. Meyer also could receive up to $150,000 each for academic progress and graduation success of his players.
Other specifics of Meyer’s terms of employment include: a $1,200-a-month stipend for two cars; a golf course membership; private jet use for personal reasons for 35 hours a year; and a dozen football tickets in Ohio Stadium for each home game.
“It’s a great opportunity to come back to my home state where I grew up and met my wife,” Meyer said.
Last year, Meyer sited health problems and wanting more time with his family as reasons for his retirement. But he said he is not concerned his health will affect his tenure at Ohio State.
“My health is in good shape. I’ve been checked out over and over again. I feel fantastic and I’m ready to go.”
Interim head coach Luke Fickell will coach Ohio State if the team goes to a post-season bowl game. Meyer will focus on putting together his coaching staff, part of which Fickell will remain. Meyer said Fickell will play a significant role, but declined to say in what capacity.
“Luke and I, we have not even had that conversation. We will shortly because I want his expertise in putting together the staff,”Meyer said.
Meyer has 104 wins and 23 losses under his head coaching belt. He spent the last five years at Florida where he amassed two national championship wins and two Southeastern Conference titles. The last time Ohio State won a national championship was in 2002; the Buckeyes lost to Florida under Meyer in 2006. Last night, Meyer fielded questions about national title possibilities.
“I’m just trying to get to tomorrow man. Try to go make some recruit calls tonight, and get to know these guys. With all due respect, wow. I don’t know. I’m going to try to really put together a good coaching staff and do the best we can,” he said.
But Meyer, who is known for being rather passionate on the sidelines, said what he expects from his players and his staff.
“Go hard. I mean, like relentless. I want a bunch of coaches that will coach like their hair’s on fire. And I want a football team that goes four to six seconds of relentless effort. You do that you got a chance of winning every game you play.”
Meyer is coming to Ohio State at a time when the program faces NCAA sanctions and self-imposed scholarship losses following a failure to monitor charge among other rules violations. OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith, who maintained November 20th was the first contact he had with Meyer about the head coach position, called Meyer a person of integrity with outstanding leadership qualities.
“There’s the right time for certain leaders. This is the right time for Urban Meyer to lead our football program,” Smith said.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the potential NCAA sanctions, Meyer said he’s comfortable joining the program.
“Is there anything behind door number two, number three, number four? And I feel very confident and have great trust that there’s not. We’ll have to deal with the scholarship issue. But I have great trust that we will and move forward.”
Ohio State’s football problems started nearly a year ago when the university discovered some of its players traded championship rings and other memorabilia for cash and tattoos. Former head coach Jim Tressel resigned Memorial Day after he admitted he knew of the NCAA rules violations but failed to report them. Several players were suspended for part of this season.